IBM has announced three storage products that it hopes will help clear up the murkiness surrounding its Seascape storage line.
Seascape promises easily upgradeable products based on interchangeable storage building blocks such as RISC processors and serial disks.
IBM's key introduction is the Versatile Storage Server (VSS), a RAID Level 5 array that can store between 230GB and 1.2TB of data and concurrently attach to Unix, Windows NT and AS/400 servers. It is scheduled to ship on August 21, and a version supporting System 390 mainframes is due next year.
Michael Casey, a US-based analyst at Gartner Group, said the VSS announcement benefits users because it brings pricing pressure to the market.
"EMC's Symmetrix product was the only game in town for a while, so it could afford to be very expensive," Casey said.
Now that is changing with products such as IBM's VSS and the 7700 array from Hitachi Data Systems, he said.
"But users should be aware that VSS is still in its early stages, so the bells and whistles such as mirroring software and mainframe connectivity standard in EMC arrays aren't due for a while," Casey said.
IBM also announced StorWatch software and a second-generation IBM Virtual Tape Server (VTS).
StorWatch is World Wide Web-based software for disk-asset management and capacity planning. A version of StorWatch called Versatile Storage Specialist will be a standard feature on VSS.
IBM's Enhanced Virtual Tape Server, due in the fourth quarter, will allow up to four Escon channels and up to 864GB of cache. IBM's VTS uses a serial disk array between a mainframe and a tape silo to cache and stack data sets before migrating them in a manner that fills tape cartridges completely.
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